Did you know that there are over 95 million pet house cats living in homes throughout the U.S.? If your cat is a beloved part of the family, you will want to give him the best care possible. Here are some tips for keeping your cat happy and healthy.
1. Brush Your Cat Daily
Many cat owners don’t realize it but brushing or combing your cat every day is essential to his health. Cats are prone to hairballs in their digestive tract because they groom themselves a lot and that loose hair gets ingested and ends up in their stomachs. Hairballs can cause vomiting and dangerous intestinal blockages. Daily brushing removes the loose hair, so less of it gets swallowed by your cat.
2. Feed Your Cat the Right Food
Never try to feed a cat a strictly vegetarian diet. Their primary food source must be meat. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of dry food your cat eats. Dry kibble is loaded with carbs, and a cat’s system can’t digest them well. Carbs can also lead to obesity and even type 2 diabetes in cats. Wet cat food is a better option for the main portion of your cat’s diet.
3. Make Sure Your Cat is Drinking Enough Water
The ancestors of our domestic cats were desert dwellers, and that means that cats don’t have the same instinct to drink a lot of water like dogs do. Feeding your cat canned food is a good idea because it contains about 78% water, as opposed to the 5% found in most dry kibble. Also, encourage your cat to drink more water by making sure it’s fresh at all times. A water fountain made just for cats is a great way to get a cat to drink more.
4. Provide Enough Litter Boxes
One of the top reasons cats end up in shelters is a failure to use the litterbox. Sometimes, the problem could be as simple as not providing enough litter boxes. Always provide one litter box for each cat in your home, plus one extra. Homes with one cat you should have 2 litter boxes, for 2 cats have 3 litter boxes and so on. Location of the litterbox, type of litter, cleanliness of the litterbox, and even the type of litterbox itself can also play a role in whether or not a cat uses the box. If your cat is going to the bathroom outside of his litterbox, see your vet to rule out illness, and then try experimenting with his litter boxes to see if you can find a solution that both of you can live with.
5. Keep Your Cat Safe When Traveling
Never take your cat in the car without putting him in a carrier, even if he hates it. Cats like to go into out of the way places to hide, like under the car seats, or even under the foot pedals, which could be dangerous. They also tend to panic and may run out of the car when the door opens, leaving them vulnerable to traffic or possibly getting lost. If possible, start training your cat to ride in the carrier when he’s young. Putting some treats, catnip, and a shirt with your scent can help him feel safer and more comfortable in the carrier.
Cats often become an essential part of the family. Following these simple tips can help your cat live a long, healthy, happy life.